Global law firm Squire Patton Boggs has expanded its commodities and shipping group with the addition of Chris Swart and Katie Pritchard as partners.

Both join from Holman Fenwick Willan, and are accompanied by director John Rollason, senior associate Gabriella Martin, and associates Joseph Magoon and Patrick Greaney.

Swart (pictured) brings 20 years’ experience in the areas of commodities, shipping and litigation, including international arbitration. As well as advising many commodities trading companies, he also works with a wide range of charterers, traders, insurers, state-owned enterprises, banks and shipowners on corporate and commercial disputes. In his previous role at Holman Fenwick Willan, he established the commodities practice in 2002.

Pritchard’s practice, meanwhile, is focused on international commodity trading and shipping and international commercial arbitration and litigation. She has a particular expertise in soft commodities and acting for grain trading houses. A former barrister, she has been involved in a series of complex multi-party high court actions in London. Her court experience includes enforcing arbitration awards and agreements to arbitrate in the High Court and she regularly obtains anti-suit injunctions, asset disclosure orders and worldwide freezing orders.

The new hires will all be based in London, and will work with partners Barry Stimpson and Jessica Kenworthy, who joined last year from Reed Smith to set up Squire Patton Boggs’ commodities and shipping group.

On his move, Swart says: “Even before Covid-19, most commodities industries were restructuring as a result of technology, regulation and finance, with the legal services industry being challenged to adapt to provide much needed support.  Now we are seeing an explosion in the demand for legal support and restructuring. The sale and shipment of goods remains essential to the global economy and its revival.”

Welcoming the team to the firm, Steve Mahon, global managing partner, clients and strategy, adds: “In the current crisis and the period of recovery that will follow, the commodities and shipping group will work closely with the firm’s corporate, litigation and international disputes resolution practices enabling complex problem solving and a full-service approach to clients in the sector.”